By COLlive reporter
U.S. Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke called on Attorney General Eric Holder to review and investigate the case of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, joining other lawmakers who criticized the process.
“The sentence of Sholom Rubashkin is an instance where I believe our system got it wrong and the punishment does not fit the crime,” Clarke wrote in a letter dated November 29, 2010, of which a copy was sent to COLlive.com.
She said Judge Linda Reade‘s “unusually severe sentence is cause for concern” and that it “has greatly impacted upon many of my Jewish constituents in New York’s 11th Congressional District.”
Holder in the past has refused to get involved in the case which many see as a witch hunt against the former kosher meat executive from Iowa.
In her letter, Clarke pointed out that while Rubashkin was a first-time white-collar offender, the judge sentenced the father of 10 for more than the prosecution requested.
Judge Reade sentenced Rubashkin to 27 years in prison for bank fraud and related charges, although prosecutors had sought a 25-year prison term.
Clarke also makes a point (“the most troubling aspect”) of how Rubashkin’s sentence was way more severe than high profile white-collar criminals like Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco, Jeffrey Skilling of Enron and Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom.
The Congresswoman said the above mentioned received lesser sentences than Rubashkin although their “damage upon the economy and American people were unquestionably more severe.”
She asked Holder to launch a formal inquiry into the sentencing phase of the Rubashkin case.
COLlive has learned that Clarke’s letter was written following her meeting with Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch Vice Chairman Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, NCFJE Chairman Rabbi Shea Hecht, Cheskel Bennett of Agudath Israel of America, Crown Heights Jewish Community Council Chairman Zaki Tamir and his representative for Government Affairs Chanina Sperlin.
Yvette Clarke’s Community Liaison Eli Slavin of Crown Heights was also instrumental in clarifying the matter to the Congresswoman.
Holder has recently received additional letters from Congress members: Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Steve Israel (D-NY), who was tapped by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, making him the 5th highest ranking Democrat in the leadership.
To date, 22 members of Congress wrote to Holder about the matter without any response yet.